Schiaparelli was formally resurrected on the runway Tuesday. The iconic fashion house, which was brand founded by Elsa Schiaparelli, the great rival of Coco Chanel in the 1930s, and has been on hiatus since the 1950’s, has survived its founder. Under the watch of Diego Della Valle, President and CEO of the Italian leather goods company, Tod’s, the brand has been resuscitated and just this season, has reclaimed its title as a couture house. 

A title is one that is carefully protected by French law and only used by the brands that have been found to meet the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris‘ specifications for haute couture. These include:

(1) Designing made-to-order clothes for private clients, with more than one fitting per design,

(2) Maintaining an atelier that employs at least 15 full-time staff members;

(3) Employing 20 full-time technical workers in said atelier; and

(4) Presenting a haute couture collection of no less than 50 original designs — both day and evening garments — bi-annually in January and July. [NOTE: This requirement has been relaxed after being cut down to 25 garments in 1992. Now, “a qualitative assessment” from the Fédération, exists]. 

Only 15 fashion houses have the right to call themselves haute couture. The others are Chanel, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Maison Margiela, Giambattista Valli, Franck Sorbier, Adeline Andre, Alexandre Vauthier, Alexis Mabille, Maurizio Galante, Stephane Rolland and Yiqing Yin. Another 20 are regarded as “guest members” of the club.